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January 15, 2018

Islanders worried about proposed hike on ferry tickets

Year-round island residents are concerned the Maine State Ferry Service's proposed increase in ferry ticket prices would widen the social divide.

The Free Press reported that, if approved, the increases would be the first in almost a decade and bring in more than $800,000 in additional revenue annually. Maine residents would generally pay less than non-residents. For example, on Vinalhaven, proposed round-trip prices for an adult ticket are $19 for out-of-state residents (up from $17.50) and $12 for Maine residents (up from $9.75).

At a Jan. 11 Maine State Ferry Service Advisory Board meeting, representatives from several year-round islands expressed concerns that the two-tier pricing could be a burden for year-round communities on the islands.

"They support our communities and we are just going to stick it to them? It just isn't right," said Sonny Sprague, a member of the ferry advisory board who lives on Swan's Island.

Public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for later this month.

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